Arndt Wins Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race
The 2017 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race concluded in an exciting finale after 175 kilometers of racing in hot conditions.
Being the first one-day World Tour event of the 2017 season, happy race spectators saw a strong peloton with famous riders line up for the start. The start list featured stars such as Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Sky Pro Cycling Team), Esteban Chaves (Team Orica-Scott) and Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team). These prominent riders led the field as it began its exciting journey on the scenic coastal roads of Victoria, Australia.
The race got off to a quick start with Conor Dunne (Aqua Blue Sport), Kirill Sveshnikov (Rusvelo), Angel Vicioso (Katusha-Alpecin) and Alexander Porter (Team Australia) attacking shortly after the start and managing to establish a solid lead. When the gap had been increased to more than ten minutes, the peloton initiated its chase to reel in the hopefuls.
With 85 kilometers of 175 kilometers remaining the distance between the two groups had been reduced to 03:40 minutes. A period of very active riding dominated by numerous attacks followed and the breakaway group was eventually reeled back in.
With less than 30 kilometers to go Sebastian Henao (Sky Pro Cycling Team), Luke Durbridge (Orica-Scott), Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team) and Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) tried to form a solid breakaway. Their effort was short-lived however.
Team Dimension Data played a dominant role at the front of the peloton during the phase that followed. Lachlan Morton kept the pace high at the front and made the necessary preparations for an active finale by teammate Nathan Haas. In what followed, Haas did not disappoint Morton, as Haas took part in every move that went.
When Chaves attacked inside the last fifteen kilometers Haas managed to stay in his wheel and gave it another go a few kilometers later. He crested the top of the last climb of the day joined by Dries Devenyns (Team QuickStep Floors) and Rafael Valls (Lotto-Belisol) and just ahead of a select group of pre-race favorites. The trio was brought back, but Dimension Data's Haas remarkably showed no signs of weakness.
Froome and Porte were the next to go. Their respective moves were both covered and all looked set for a sprint finale.
Following a fierce sprint across the finish line in Geelong it was Germany's Nikias Arndt of Team Sunweb who took the first victory of the team's road season after teammate Joris Nieuwenhuis won the U23 World Cyclo-Cross Champion title in Europe earlier today. Arndt was closely followed across the line by Simon Gerrans (Team Orica-Scott) and Cameron Meyer (Team Australia).
"Today the team did a truly awesome job, Wilco (Kelderman) and I were protected really well up until the final. We had a good plan to cover different scenarios on the difficult final lap. I had to fight really hard to survive the final climbs and the guys made sure I was set up for the sprint. I am really happy to finish off the trip to Australia like this and pleased that I could reward the team with a win after all of their hard work over the past three weeks," race winner Arndt told Roadcycling.com.
"It was a very hard race today," Haas told Roadcycling.com after the finish and added "I came here to win, so 7th isn’t really the result I hoped for. However, I think I came off with a personal victory today. It was a very hard finale, but I was always up there and able to get into every move that went up the road.
"I think this underlines just how hard I have worked over the last couple of weeks and that I am able to handle the responsibility of being a team leader. I am happy of how the team raced over the last few weeks and it makes me proud to see the support we received from fans and partners along the way. This month also gives me a lot of confidence for the 2017 Ardennes classics which are my next big goal," Haas added.
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